BCAB #1751 - Run-of-River Hydro Electric Facility, Clause of Division A

July 17, 2014

BCAB #1751

Re: Run-of-River Hydro Electric Facility, Clause of Division A

Project Description

The project under appeal is a run-of-river hydro electric facility. There are four turbines housed in a structure that is about 19.5 metres wide by 60.2 metres long and 14 metres high which also contains an occasionally occupied control room and a washroom.  The turbines are in the lower half of the structure below grade while the 14 metre high steel enclosure above grade supports a 110 ton overhead crane and contains the control room and washroom as well as various pieces of equipment.

Reason for Appeal

Clause in Division A exempts “flood control and hydro electric dams and structures” from the BC Building Code.

Appellant's Position

The appellant contends that the run-of-river hydro electric facility should be exempt from the BC Building Code. Although there is no dam associated with this hydro electric structure it is unlikely that run-of-river hydro electric facilities would have been thought of when the BC Building Code was first implemented in the early 1970s.

Building Official's Position

The building official maintains that it is not the intent of Clause to exempt all hydro electric facilities from the Building Code. Hydro electric dams are specialized structures that do not resemble buildings and the exemption was likely just to clarify that dams were not intended to be regulated by the Code. Buildings such as this should contain the health and safety provisions expected in any building where people will work.

Appeal Board Decision #1751

It is the determination of the Board that Clause does not exempt this building from the Building Code. The Board considers the exemption only applies to dams and structures that are not buildings and the word “structure” was used deliberately to differentiate from “buildings” that are associated with flood control and hydro electric dams.

Lyle Kuhnert, Chair